Lan Ma

  • Children and YA Literature, especially Fantasy and SF works
  • Comparative study between Eastern and Western Children and YA literature
  • Japanese Comics
  • Sociology

Research title: Library War in the Future: An Exploration of Responses of Young Readers in the Digital Era to the Issues of 'Information and Communication Control by the State' in Science Fiction

Research Summary

With the rapid development of new technologies, the power and discourse in the 21st century are redefining and restructuring in unprecedented patterns. This change is reflected in every aspect of contemporary society, and is inspected in the content of many literary works. On the other hand, children and adolescents in the new era are distinctly growing with new digital technologies around. As a result, their approaches of seeing the world, and their thinking about the ways of organization and operation of future world will be obviously differ from any previous generation. However, at present, it is still exactly knows few about such minds, which is an essential issue for contemporary educational research.

My doctoral research will include two parts. The first part will focus on the representation of discourse and power in several important dystopian YA texts both West and East in the last 25 years (since 1991, when the first website was published). Following Michel Foucault and other sociologists’ related theories, the research will have a dialectic discussion between the dystopian literature and the society. The second part will turn to the readers’ responses to this topic. Finally, based on the data collected, the study will consider some implications for the development of education and publishing in the future. It aims to give some sociological analysis on the contemporary dystopian YA literature and young readers’ thinking about knowledge, information, discourse and power in the digital era, which has been virtually few research in the area of Children’s and YA literature. Furthermore, this study also hope to impact some realistic and practical outcomes for the other scholars, sociologists, educators and young readers’ families.


2015: CoSS scholarship from the University of Glasgow

2007: Awarded as the Excellent Staff of Bertelsmann ASIA Publishing (Liaoning)

2006: The Trustee of Shenyang Writers’ Association


Ma, L. (2016) The Last Neverland for Chinese Young Readers and writers: the Changes of Science Fiction in China and Their Implicature of the Reality. In: Under Control: Childhood and Twentieth Century Dictatorships (1917-1991). University of Warwick, 19 May 2016

Ma, L. (2016) Library War: Censorship and Resistance in Japanese Dystopian Young Adult Fiction in the 21st Century. In: CRSF and SFRA 2016. University of Liverpool, 27-30 June 2016

Additional Information

Lan Ma received a BA in Sociology from the University of Fudan in China. The university is one of the national topmost institutions of advanced learning and higher education,  211/985 project university. She received MEd in Children’s Literature and Literacies from the University of Glasgow in 2014. In the next year, she got CoSS scholarship from the University of Glasgow and started her PhD study. Before coming to the UK, she worked as an editor of children’s and YA literature for 5 years in China, and has passed the Chinese Professional Qualification Examination of Publishers.